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How to avoid problems associated with gearbox lubrication


Heynau gearboxes, Pujol geared motors, Pujol geared units, Parallel shaft gearboxes and Sirem gear motors, whatever type of industrial gearbox you operate, they all have one thing in common – they need regular lubrication.

Take a look at some of the problems associated with gearbox lubrication and how Ybto avoid them.

Not giving the gearbox any lubrication

As Machinery Lubrication warns, regularly operating a worm gearbox dry is asking for failure. What you need to be aware of is the fact that gearbox manufacturers often ship their gearboxes and geared motors dry, primarily because the shipping costs are less without the additional weight of the lubricant. Not only this but shipping a dry geared unit enables the end user to set their own lubrication standards.

It is therefore important that when you receive the geared unit, you lubricate it before use. Failing to do so will mean it runs whilst dry, which can create significant damage.

Unsubstantial lubrication

A similar problem can arise if a gearbox is operating without sufficient lubrication. Machinery Lubrication also warns that a gearbox mounted in the worm-under orientation requires additional lubrication.

In its paper titled ‘Avoiding Common Gearbox Lubrication Problems’, Altra Industrial Motion warns of the potential problems created when users give their Sirem gear motors, Sirem gearboxes and other types of gearboxes inappropriate lubrication.

The paper advises using the specific lubrications that have been tried and tested by the gearbox manufacturers, as this selection has been made on using a lubricant that gives the unit the longest possible life for the customer.

There are also specific lubricant characteristics that are known to damage gears and which users should be aware of. For example, worm gearboxes are typically made from steel with bronze gears. Consequently, lubricants that contain chlorine or sulphur additives will ultimately corrode and soften the bronze gears, resulting in damage and a shortened lifespan. Altra Literature goes on to warn that many lubricants that come with the ‘Extra Pressure (EP)’ label contain these substances and would therefore not be appropriate for lubricating worm gearboxes.

Operating conditions and selecting gear oil

According to Gear Solutions while it might be easy to ‘take the manufacturer’s word for it’, recommendations do not take into account operating conditions.  Gearbox users should always take the conditions they are operating the machine in prior to making the lubricant selection.

Aspects such as whether the gearbox is surrounded by dust, heat, moisture and chemical vapours, should be taken into consideration when selecting a lubricant. As should the housekeeping, location of machine and whether it has been overloaded.

With the above advice on board you will be in a much better position to give your gearbox the lubrication TLC it requires.

If you have any questions about gearbox repair, and the location of industrial parts, get in touch with YBComponents, specialists in the supply of industrial gearboxes and motors.